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Standards of learning by children and classes...

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Standards of learning by children and classes required by low carbon education

Shuichi Teraki

Aug.11,2011 The Education Newspaper

The ideal state of a student after low carbon education is one that improves living standards without suffering or losing prosperity, and to live cheerfully and happily with dreams and hope.
 Children are currently learning the following topics in each subject and in classes for integrated study.

  • Achieving a society that does not depend too much on fossil fuel, effectively uses renewable energy, transitions into life that reduces use of energy, proposed use of decentralized energy, and has self-supporting communities
  • Concepts and usages of energy savings and new energies made possible by advanced Japanese science and technology. Examples are increasing efficiency of power generation and utilization of renewable energy including solar and wind power, reduction of transmission loss, promotion of the smart grid, and improvement of rechargeable batteries.
  • Avoiding electricity crises using the wisdom of traditional Japanese low carbon society, for instance, green curtains that increase insulation of houses, Japanese houses with many windows and long eaves, sprinkling water, and reed screens.

Example of standards for low carbon education.

I propose the following specific teaching objectives and motivation for low carbon education in a number of subjects.

Elementary school social studies:The unit "securing electricity" (3rd and 4th grades) teaches that power plants, most of which are thermal, nuclear, or hydropower plants, aim to provide a stable supply of electricity in accordance with the increase in electricity demand. The students are taught that thermal and nuclear power plants are taking care of the environment and are working to ensure safety, and learn electricity and energy policies in a low carbon society.

Elementary school science:The unit "using electricity" (6th grade) attracts student attention to efficient use of electricity from the viewpoint of effective use of energy resources. For example, the time that LEDs and light bulbs stay on with hand generators or rechargeable batteries are compared, and as LEDs stay on longer than light bulbs, this becomes a hint to what lighting appliances to choose under the current electricity crisis. Furthermore, the unit "people and nature" makes students understand that water, air, food, and solar energy are necessary for life, including humans, to survive. As a result, students will have a perspective on nature that will foster the love for nature, consider how the natural environment and people can coexist together, and aim to achieve a low carbon society.

Elementary school home economics:The unit "ideas for houses" (5th and 6th grades) teaches how to counter heat and cold to live comfortably throughout the year, relation to ventilation, and the need for appropriate lighting. This allows students to understand the importance of living while utilizing nature and innovate to live more comfortably. Students learn that lifestyles can be changed to achieve a low carbon society.

Middle school social studies:Students learn that the pollution of the environment and destruction of nature is becoming a global issue in addition to at the local and national scale, further resources and energy saving and recycling is becoming necessary because resources and energy are becoming scarce, and development and use of new resources and energies are becoming necessary.

Middle school science:Students understand further that the development of science and technology has made human life more prosperous and convenient, science and technology is important is solving issues on energy and the environment, and the development of science and technology is closely related to human life.

Middle school industrial arts and homemaking:Students learn through specific activities that technology l arts are closely related to the causes and resolutions to environmental problems, and the development of technology is contributing to effective use of resources and energy and conservation of the natural environment.

Teaching one unit as above in each grade will be a sufficient and necessary low carbon education.

Reference: Courses of study in elementary and middle school for each subject (2008)
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology